Great Leap Sideways
Samsung and Panasonic both already do compacts with 24mm wide angle so that feature on its own isn't any leap forward at all.
Camera manufacturers are always looking for some unique selling proposition. In the case of the Samsung WB500, it’s been marketed as world’s first compact with the equivalent of a 24mm, ultra wide optical 10x zoom. But with a few other models, such as Panasonic’s DMC-TZ6 and DMC-TZ7, already equipped with a 25mm lens, this isn’t …
The pictures from this camera appear to degrade sharply beyond its base ISO80 setting. That's probably due to some heavy in-camera processing being performed to try to hide the noise by softening and smearing the image details. The situation isn't helped by the less-than-sharp lens and the jpeg & sharpening artifacts that are introduced into the images. Samsung stuffed a lot of good sounding features into this camera at a relatively low price point but apparently sacrificed the picture quality to make it happen. There are better choices.
The Pana LMX3 (which is effectively the same camera and lens as the Leica) has a 24mm lens and what a cracker of a lens it is! OK so it's a bit more expensive but with a fast lens rating of F/2.0 at 24 mm to F/2.8 at the admittedly not very tele end it's a great compact camera - even at ISO400 (especially with the new firmware update).
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